After the death of his brother St. Basil the Great, and after being unable to visit his eldest sister St. Macrina and his last surviving brother for eight long years, St. Gregory of Nyssa finally arrived for a visit and found his formidable sister on her deathbed. In an attempt to cheer him up, St. Macrina held a Socratic dialogue with him. He told about this in her biography, but had no space to include it. In this separate work, he does.
Of course, both the vagaries of memory and the points St. Gregory wanted to make are bound to affect the strict historical accuracy of such a dialogue. But it remains that this is a book on the teachings of a Mother of the early Church. Also, this book defends the existence of the soul and eternal life against the views of materialist skeptics of St. Macrina's day -- not all that different from those of some folks today.
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